RAIL bosses are hoping reckless drivers will “think twice” before jumping the lights at level crossings as work starts to install safety cameras.

Network Rail, on behalf of Greater Anglia, has started work to install red light safety enforcement (RLSE) cameras at 13 levels crossings - including at The Causeway in Manningtree and Church Street, in Braintree.

The cameras can identify vehicles which fail to stop at level crossings when the road traffic lights are flashing red and capture this evidence to support legal action.

Offenders are automatically notified of their offence and, depending on the severity of the offence, different levels of enforcement are applied.

This could be a driver’s awareness course, £100 fine and three points on their licence, or a prosecution case may be pursued.

Swerving barriers at Manningtree’s level crossing has sparked outrage among councillors and residents.

Last year Network Rail released footage showing a careless driver ignoring the red lights at the Manningtree crossing.

He drove at speed through the lights, which were flashing to indicate that the barrier was about to go down, and nearly crashed into the back of a queue of waiting traffic before speeding off.

Carlo Guglielmi, Essex county councillor for Manningtree who has been lobbying for the installation of safety measures at the crossing, has welcomed the installation of the cameras.

He said: “We have discussed this with Network Rail for a long time, and it is something I feel strongly about.

“People can’t keep endangering lives and I do hope these cameras will be a deterrent from a suicidal mission to jump the lights.

“It’s great to know Network Rail has been listening to us.”

Incidents have also been reported at the East Gates crossing in Colchester in recent years.

Earlier this month, a cyclist had an incredible near miss at the crossing.

Shocking dash cam footage captured the cyclist heading towards Colchester town centre and approaching the East Gates level crossing.

But instead of slowing down, he ignored the warning lights and cycled onto the tracks as the barriers were descending.

Daniel Fisk, Network Rail public and passenger health and safety manager for the Anglia route, said level crossings pose a real safety risk.

He added: “These cameras are a proven, cost-effective way to improve safety and encourage motorists not to take unnecessary risks when crossing the railway.

“Knowing that jumping the lights or swerving the barriers at a level crossing will almost certainly result in a prosecution is enough to make most drivers think twice.

“This isn’t about money.

“For us, the perfect scenario is to have everyone cross the railway safely with no penalties issued.”

Matt Wakefield, head of safety, security and sustainability at Greater Anglia, added: “The work being undertaken will be of benefit to everyone as it will increase the levels of safety around our network.”

As an extra deterrent to drivers, signs will be installed to warn motorists they could be caught on camera.

This work to the crossings is being funded by Greater Anglia to allow more services to potentially run in future.